Knowing when to pivot in business

It happens to a lot of businesses - they grow and evolve. They start off as one thing initially and become something completely different within a few years.

This is normal in business, and is to be expected as an idea comes to fruition.

But sometimes it’s hard knowing when to make these changes. In the startup tech world they can be as subtle as shifting products/services to a slightly different online platform, in the services arena it could be widening your niche to include a more varied group of people, just like I have done this month. I realised that I could serve not just wellness practitioners, but my coaching skills can apply to a wider group of female entrepreneurs.

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This shift is subtle mainly because

(a) Most of my clients are female

(b) Wellness entrepreneurs have the same issues around profitability, productivity and positive mindset as female entrepreneurs in general.

So not such a big leap for me. But what if your niche doesn’t sing to you anymore, or you’ve lost interest in the way your business is going? What if you’re bored, or have lost clarity on the purpose and vision you had when you started?

What if you have a ‘feeling’ something isn’t right, but can’t quite put your finger on it? What happens then?

Here are some tips on how to know when to pivot, and when not to:

  1. You’re bored of your business:

    Are you really though? Or is it just that you don’t want to do the hard stuff like picking up the phone or following up with people who may have expressed an interest in working with you? Fear can make us create stories around our business, ways to justify moving or changing things up when all we really need to do is knuckle down and do the things that bring in more clients and revenue.

    Action step: Identify the pros and cons of your business model and niche - do you really want to move away from what you’ve built, or is it still salvageable?

  2. Your products aren’t selling:

    Perhaps you need to go back to basics and strip down what each offer is providing your ideal client. Are you speaking to the problems your ideal client has? Are you connecting with them on an emotional level in your copy? Do they clearly understand what results you can provide for them?

    Sometimes a small tweak is all you need to go from surviving to thriving in your business. If you’re not interested in your ideal clients problems anymore, or are more interested in serving a new type of client, it may be time to change things around in your business.

    Action step: Identify the results your ideal client gets from working with you. Is your message and your copy (online, print, blogs etc.) speaking to their current problem and to the solution you provide?

  3. You’re not ‘feeling it’

    This happens a lot in business, and the first reaction should be to check in with your intuition or ‘gut feeling’ and have a serious brainstorm around what doesn’t feel right. Identify scenarios where things might change in your business and its structure - new clients, new services/ products - how do you feel about making this change?

    How do you think you’d feel if you were doing the same thing in your business in 6 months time - serving the same client, providing the same service/product? Does that excite you or fill you with dread?

    Action step: Look at the current products/services you provide and who you serve - are they matching their needs? Do you feel fulfilled providing these needs? Is there another product/service or client you’d rather work with? If you decide to pivot, what would need to happen in your business to make these changes? What’s the turn around time to make this happen?

  4. Your niche is too narrow or specialised

    This happens to a lot of business owners starting out, they ‘super niche’ - they create a niche within a niche they want to work with, without realising it may be too specialised to start off with. This can make potential clients hard to find, and therefore hard to serve and develop relationships with.

    Its advisable at the start of your business to focus on the problems you solve, and think of the ideal paying clients that you can help create solutions for. Once you have a feel for your business and the solutions you provide, then it’s time to niche further if you feel it’s a good move.

    Action step: What solutions do you provide for your clients? Can they be used for one particular group of clients? Is there enough opportunity for you with this group to make your business work? Will this group of clients want your service or product? If your niche is too narrow, is there a way to broaden it slightly to incorporate a similar group of ideal client?

  5. You’ve tried everything!

    You’ve attended the right networking meetings, you’ve marketed your products, you’ve tightened up your copy, you’ve been in front of your ideal client and still there’s no takers for what you have to offer! What’s a girl to do? She gets strategic! It’s market research time!

    Action Step: Go back to all the people you’ve spoken to about your products in the last 6 months and ask them honestly (no retribution - in fact, provide a little bonus for honesty!) why they didn’t buy your service or product. It might feel a bit awkward, but you may come up with a new idea! It might be that you offer a simpler product/service, less bells and whistles can work too!

    So there are many pros and cons to pivoting or evolving in your business. It doesn’t have to be the end of the world if the client you started out with isn’t the client you have right now. We are meant to grow and develop as business owners, that’s the joy of being an entrepreneur!

    So take a step back, look at the big picture and what you offer - be honest with yourself and go with your business gut. It won’t let you down.

Building a business on your own can be tough, I’ve been on that start up journey, it’s hard work!

I’d love to help you get through that start up phase faster!

I have a limited number of free Business Breakthrough Calls for October - click on the link if you’d like to book a call to discuss ways to build your profitable business through tailored strategy, laser focus and a positive mindset.